driver

driver

george l stein

my old honda has a bad tranny
and a psychological addiction to painkillers and lube
but whatever he survives seems to make her stronger
and weaker, and he wants to live just a little bit longer
because, they say, anything can happen, and may
and if the heart is truly like a wheel
then she wants more than anything
more than health, more than wealth
more than fresh, high-mileage pennzoil
wants someone to unlock and enter her
wants someone to wrap their fingers firmly
around her supple, stitched leather
turn the key and take her for a spin. it’s true,
sometimes life is barren, other times,
life showers one with fortune
and then sometimes it just rains.
drop the windows, harken the weather
toss the map, pump the stereo
indulge me just this once with premium ethyl, then
let’s just get this over with

just shoot

just shoot

one says let’s start by you standing there, here
in the inviting doorway of an empty coffin
a prop propped on it’s little end from which
to send forth, to launch, like
apollo astronauts or cuban baseball players,
or small-town freaks seeking the anonymity
and long, sodium-vapor shadows
of the new city in glorious night

and she complies.

photographer’s move and circle
round the ingenue du jour
sharks, at the sighting of silver fins twitching
in the cold, blue-green salt-waters
eyes dart, flashes flash, think
blink, then do it all over
break the fourth wall
then start in on the fifth

at the end, yearbook smiles, everyone says their good byes,
trudges down lost counts of bruised, concrete steps
returns in their individual measure
to the too-familiar place where movement ceases
the recent events become little, lost lambs
even the nuclear burn, full exposure of a mid-day sun
fails penetration at these fathomless depths

the end

the end

the end is not near
but other things have come to reside and linger here
there is transformation by ingestion
aggrandizement by deception. and smoke about a new revolution
around and amongst a generalized shortage and dearth
staring full-on into a setting sun, god, country, and hearth
slow down. the relationship between shadow and subject
open spaces and long-casting light, lest it fall with intent
or wherever it might, other voices, other rooms
shelter, food, soothing vapors and wild mushrooms
i’ve seen a few drawings and tattoos while stationed here
the sun won’t shine and won’t set for ever
take a slow drag, span the clouds expanse, breathe with curious intent
persist until tomorrow or so and see how it goes
rest, sleep, measure, go riding
before deciding

under heaven

Under Heaven
george l stein

walking in the woods, cautious steps over a gouge deep in the earth
cold river, silver flashing, quick and angry
unforgiving, sideways stepping down a steep hill
to fetch an empty pail, then tumbling head-long into a storm
the dream begins with water, ends in vapor
and pricks the conscious bubble

a turn to everything, there is a season
a time and purpose, it is written
a time for gathering stones together
to greet a sinner or launch a saint in disguise
a time for turning and sowing for an uncertain harvest
then in the fall, reaping the bitter seeds of doubt

this is the time to refrain from embracing
to tear down with a purposefulness and mindful recklessness
a reduction of flesh and hope to cinders and ashes
it is written that this time will turn, as all times have turned
but perhaps, with a mercy, this will be the last
season, time, and purpose under heaven, with a casual cowardice
to turn and run away